pro·​cess | \ ˈprä-ˌses How to pronounce process (audio) , ˈprō-, -səs How to pronounce process (audio) \
plural processes\ ˈprä-​ˌse-​səz How to pronounce process (audio) , ˈprō-​ , -​sə-​ , -​ˌsēz How to pronounce process (audio) \

Definition of process

 (Entry 1 of 4)

1a : progress, advance in the process of time
b : something going on : proceeding
2a(1) : a natural phenomenon marked by gradual changes that lead toward a particular result the process of growth
(2) : a continuing natural or biological activity or function such life processes as breathing
b : a series of actions or operations conducing to an end especially : a continuous operation or treatment especially in manufacture
3a : the whole course of proceedings in a legal action
b : the summons, mandate, or writ used by a court to compel the appearance of the defendant in a legal action or compliance with its orders
4 : a prominent or projecting part of an organism or organic structure a bone process a nerve cell process


verb (1)
processed; processing; processes

Definition of process (Entry 2 of 4)

transitive verb

1a : to proceed against by law : prosecute
b(1) : to take out a summons against
(2) : to serve a summons on
2a : to subject to a special process or treatment (as in the course of manufacture or film development)
b(1) : to subject to or handle through an established usually routine set of procedures process insurance claims
(2) : to integrate sensory information received so that an action or response is generated the brain processes visual images relayed from the retina
(3) : to subject to examination or analysis computers process data
c : to work (hair) into a conk



Definition of process (Entry 3 of 4)

1 : treated or made by a special process especially when involving synthesis or artificial modification
2 : made by or used in a mechanical or photomechanical duplicating process
3 : of or involving illusory effects usually introduced during processing of the film


verb (2)
pro·​cess | \ prə-ˈses How to pronounce process (audio) \
processed; processing; processes

Definition of process (Entry 4 of 4)

intransitive verb

chiefly British
: to move in a procession

Synonyms for process

Synonyms: Noun

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Examples of process in a Sentence

Noun How does the election process work? Learning a foreign language can be a long process. We're remodeling our house. The whole process is expected to take a few months. Breathing and the circulation of blood are life processes. a bony process on the foot
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun FEMA Press Secretary Jeremy Edwards said in a statement the process can be lengthy, in part, because the agency must determine that a buyout is cost-effective and complies with environmental and historic preservation requirements. Ben Finley, ajc, 18 June 2022 In most people, that process is typically well-controlled and short-lived. Isabella Cueto, STAT, 18 June 2022 When political leaders face a constitutional crisis, like that of Jan. 6, the process of collectively deciding how to respond can be messy, arbitrary, and sometimes change the nature of the system itself. New York Times, 18 June 2022 So the whole process of creating Lola was kind of just trying to keep up with Vanessa. Jessica Radloff, Glamour, 17 June 2022 And if that process is completely null and void at a certain point because no one understands the efforts, then the diners at the restaurant don’t understand exactly what’s going on. Elizabeth Wagmeister, Variety, 17 June 2022 That said, for a region that has sought to align itself with the West, that process has not been an easy one. Cristian Gherasim, CNN, 17 June 2022 The new process is why the union is particularly focused on the hearing because cases now have a neutral arbitrator, one of the people said. Andrew Beaton, WSJ, 17 June 2022 What was your inspiration for the new album, and what was the process of writing it like? Serena Puang,, 17 June 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb During his pauses, his audiences have time to process unfamiliar pronunciations and absorb the meaning. Jerry Weissman, Forbes, 16 June 2022 Donations can take time to process, so contributors should donate sooner rather than later to ensure their donation counts. Layla Mcmurtrie, Detroit Free Press, 10 June 2022 For those ordering through a third-party delivery partner, drivers will be able to process orders with the goal of providing an even faster delivery time in getting tacos straight to fans. Mark Heim |, al, 7 June 2022 The new facility will be able to process double the amount of blood, a capacity that is expected to suffice for at least the next 30 years. New York Times, 1 June 2022 Mark didn't have much time to process the tragedy, which is still fresh in his mind. Scott Springer, The Enquirer, 19 May 2022 Teachers at all levels are in a predictable frenzy, cobbling together resources to help students process preventable tragedy, loss, and grief. Christina Wyman, Rolling Stone, 27 May 2022 Another may need more time to process ideas and prefers to share their thoughts in writing. Quentin Mcdowell, Forbes, 26 May 2022 Usually, there’s more time for pitchers to process that news and prepare for their debut. Charlie Goldsmith, The Enquirer, 22 May 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective This may have positioned several large cities that chose to pre-process ballots to deliver election results earlier than expected. Clara Hendrickson, Detroit Free Press, 4 Nov. 2020 State Democrats and Republicans both agree that local election workers should be allowed to pre-process ballots early. Kristine Phillips, USA TODAY, 22 Oct. 2020 The state can’t yet process unemployment claims from independent contractors and the self-employed, even though the federal government has temporarily extended benefits to those workers, St. Louis Public Radio reported. USA TODAY, 15 Apr. 2020 The recent rise of memes seeming to make light of the Wuhan virus or international tensions offers a glimpse into how teenagers learn about and process world events. Nicole Daniels, New York Times, 11 Feb. 2020 Knowing that people process things differently and that's OK. Gabe Bergado, Teen Vogue, 13 Sep. 2019 The Google Assistant, for example, can already now process multiple requests at once. Edward C. Baig, USA TODAY, 2 Jan. 2018 People process things differently and at different rates. Richard Asa,, 31 Aug. 2017 Around 80% of people process language on the left, or the analytical, side of the brain, Dr. Pantelyat says, and everyone processes music on both sides of the brain. Heidi Mitchell, WSJ, 26 July 2017 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb But as the world industrialized, natural ways to process and remove carbon from the air were not enough to keep balance in order. Pranshu Verma, Washington Post, 23 June 2022 In these cases, KAP can help a new mother process her trauma by providing the space and distance necessary to cease re-experiencing the frightening triggers. Melissa Whippo, Glamour, 23 June 2022 Direct integration allows merchants to use e-commerce solutions such as billing software in order to process transactions in real time, thus cutting time while ensuring the security of personal customer data. Mara Garcia, Forbes, 17 June 2022 That has created a massive post-election pileup for workers who process the ballots. Dakota Smith, Los Angeles Times, 17 June 2022 Tell me about the inspiration for this project and how you guys process those influences on this project. Julyssa Lopez, Rolling Stone, 17 June 2022 The plane was scheduled to take off at 10:30 P.M. and fly to Kigali, the capital of Rwanda, initiating a new arrangement in which the African country will process and house asylum seekers who have sought refuge in the United Kingdom. Sam Knight, The New Yorker, 17 June 2022 The Treasury Department extended a sanctions carve-out allowing U.S. financial institutions to process transactions related to Russian energy sales for nearly six months as the U.S. seeks to minimize further disruption in global energy markets. Andrew Duehren, WSJ, 14 June 2022 Bolt later began using its software to process more transactions automatically. New York Times, 10 May 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'process.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of process


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb (1)

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1888, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb (2)

1814, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for process


Middle English proces, from Anglo-French procés, from Latin processus, from procedere

Verb (2)

back-formation from procession entry 1

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Time Traveler for process

Time Traveler

The first known use of process was in the 14th century

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Last Updated

22 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Process.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Jun. 2022.

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More Definitions for process


pro·​cess | \ ˈprä-ˌses How to pronounce process (audio) , ˈprō- \

Kids Definition of process

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a series of actions, motions, or operations leading to some result the manufacturing process
2 : a series of changes that occur naturally the growth process


processed; processing

Kids Definition of process (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to change by a special treatment The fruit is picked and processed for shipment.
2 : to take care of according to a routine His job is to process insurance claims.
3 : to take in and organize for use Computers process data.


pro·​cess | \ ˈpräs-ˌes How to pronounce process (audio) , ˈprōs- How to pronounce process (audio) , -əs \

Medical Definition of process

1a : a natural progressively continuing operation or development marked by a series of gradual changes that succeed one another in a relatively fixed way and lead toward a particular result or end the process of growth the process of digestion
b : a natural continuing activity or function such life processes as breathing and the circulation of the blood
2 : a prominent or projecting part of an organism or organic structure a bone process a nerve cell process


pro·​cess | \ ˈprä-ˌses, ˈprō- How to pronounce process (audio) \

Legal Definition of process

1 : a continuous operation, art, or method especially in manufacture whoever invents or discovers any new and useful process…may obtain a patent thereforU.S. Code
b : a means (as a summons) used to compel a defendant to appear in court broadly : a means by which a court acquires or exercises jurisdiction over a person or property — see also mesne process — compare notice, service

Note: In civil procedure, service of a summons on a defendant is considered constitutionally sufficient process, although usually a copy of the complaint must also be provided according to the local rule of procedure.

More from Merriam-Webster on process

Nglish: Translation of process for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of process for Arabic Speakers


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